Ideas and where to find them – by Jaine Fenn

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Earlier this week I was asked a question which may evoke a wry smile amongst fellow writers: ‘Where do you get your ideas?’I will be honest: my usual response to this old chestnut of a question tends towards glibness.

Sometimes I quote a response attributed to Asimov: ‘I just leave out milk and cookies overnight, and in the morning the milk and cookies are gone and there’s an idea there.’ Or, to put it another way, buggered if I know.

Sometimes I quote the late great Sir Terry Pratchett: ‘I don’t know where ideas come from but I know there they go: they go to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.’ Or, to put it another way: what appears to have happened by magic to you, dear reader, is actually the product of a lot of hard work.

But this question was asked with…

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Vector’s pick of science news in 2017

Transdimensional ‘Transdimensional’ by Phil Jones

In the spirit of Vector’s traditional “Best of” print edition, which is nearly ready, here is our pick of science news for 2017.

First of all, water. Two new inventions for increasing the supply of drinking water caught our eye:

In other exciting news regarding fluids, albeit less immediately applicable: scientists have made a fluid with negative mass. But then, the usefulness of inventions is often hard to judge.

The New York Times is not a place where one expects to find encounters between the Navy and UFOs, but the NYT in 2017 has been a place to rival any dystopian SF. Therefore, it has been worth the extra effort to look for technoscience news which seemed less likely to transform our world in…

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Imposter Syndrome – Embrace the Experience by David Gullen

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Writers all over the world talk about Imposter Syndrome*, that feeling your success is undeserved and that one day the world will collectively blink, take a good long look at you and realise you are some kind of fraud.

pexels-photo-278312It’s something that affects people in many walks of life, creative or not. You would think it should be a simple thing to look at your own achievements and accept the success that years of experience, hard work, and learning, have brought. For many people it’s not always so. I’ll admit to being one of them. I don’t think my writing is good enough, I try with every piece I write to be a better writer. It’s the same with my leather-craft and, even though I can see the results and know I’m getting better, on some days I still feel like I’m an amateur.

I love our garden and…

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Four things I learned from going to Milford by Al Robertson

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Over the years, I’ve had a wonderful run of Milfords; I was lucky enough to read and critique some excellent stories, and to have my own stories deftly critiqued by a wide range of knowledgeable, thoughtful readers. I learned some very important things while doing that. Oh, and I’ve (mostly) illustrated this post with pictures taken in the countryside around the Trigonos Centre, where Milford talks place.

Pic 1Company matters more than you’d think

I once took a week to go and write in Devon, in a house where I’d be completely alone in a quiet little village where I didn’t need to see anyone. I thought it would be an insanely productive week; instead, I just nearly went insane. Of course, everyone works differently – but I found out that, for me, if I’m going to be writing I also need to be not-writing. I need to be feeding the…

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Post-Cyber Feminist International

Glitch @ Night - BBZ London, photo Mark-Blower, no24Post-Cyber Feminist International, Glitch@Night BBZ London (Photo: Mark Blower)

‘A particularly gendered set of obstacles emerges from the contemporary ubiquity and commodification of the digital sphere. From sexual harassment and privacy to issues surrounding divisions of labour, the progress of gender justice has in some ways failed to keep pace with the dizzying velocity of digital developments. At the same time, new networked technologies have come to dominate the horizons of critical discourse, pushing older and more quotidian devices to the margins of cultural visibility. And yet, these domesticated technologies (from the Hoovers to HRT) continue to exert a shaping influence on many people’s everyday lives. It is critical that feminists find new ways of interrogating technologies in order to forge a radical gender politics fit for an era in which the analogue and the digital are inexorably intertwined’ [ICA]

Black Feminism and Post-Cyber Feminism, photoMark-Blower, no27Black Feminism and Post-Cyber Feminism (Photo: Mark Blower)

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From Our Archive: Nisi Shawl

This article first appeared in Vector 247.

Colourful Stories

Fantastic Fiction by African Descended Authors, by Nisi Shawl

Everfair coverSo rich a sea, so broad the currents … in exploring fantastic literature by African-descended authors, where do we start?

“Begin at the beginning” is standard advice for writers. “Begin where you are” is more my style. Where I am at the moment, where I’ve been most of my life, is North America. Though I know there are many other schools of African-descended writers out there, myriad fabulists swimming in gorgeous array, I’m at my best talking about those with whom I’ve had the most contact, those about whom I have something substantial to say: those who inhabit the Western Hemisphere. In the course of this essay, then, I’ll focus on “New World” writers of fantastic fiction whose ancestors came from Africa. I’ll talk about specific works by them and also touch…

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The Milford Write Up for 2017

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Contributors: Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Dolly Garland, Mark Isles and Steph Bianchini

Panorama01

Setting: Trigonos Centre, Nantlle Valley, Wales
In the beautiful Trigonos centre, under the cover of clouds and rains and occasional bursts of sunshine, fifteen writers gathered together for one week of respite from the regular world. It is understood that most of what happens in Trigonos, stays in Trigonos. But for posterity purposes and for future generations we write this report to give a flavour of some of the things that transpired at Milford 2017. We thank Val Nolan for (unwittingly) donating his story-style for the creation of this document.

Dolly Garland (First generation recipient of the writers of colour bursary & all-around troublemaker): When a fellow Milfordian you’ve never met agrees to give you a lift from London and willing to spend four plus hours in a car with you, you know these folks are all right. Or…

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Live Blogging from Milford: Friday 15th September – 5.30 p.m.

Good bye to Trigonos and the Milford family…

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Jacey Bedford

This will probably be my last live blog from Milford for this year. The hard work is over. Today we’ve been to Caernarfon for a mooch around the castle and lunch at the Anglesea Arms. Though the weather forecast was not great there was only one short shower and this afternoon the sun came out.

caernarfon-2This was Suyi’s first look at a proper British castle and he took masses of photos and got a quick history lesson from Terry to put it into context.

Lunch was delightful. On short notice they shoved tables together to accommodate all of us and we (nearly) all chose meat of some kind. Several people had the burgers. I had gammon, Terry had lamb shank. After a week of healthy eating and set menus we really enjoyed the variety. Though we resisted pudding.

We had a quick race round the shops after lunch…

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Live Blogging from Milford: Wednesday 13th September – 9.30 a.m.

The gathered presence of the 2017 Milford group!

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Jacey Bedford

One day slides into the next… and suddenly it’s Wednesday. How did that happen? Yesterday we reached the halfway point on crits, so we have only another two days to go, another ten pieces to crit, with sixteen pieces completed already.

Panorama Tuesday

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Live blogging from Milford 2017: Tuesday 12th September – 11.50 a.m.

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Sue Oke

Looking out from my window, at the mountains beyond the trees, I realise just how much I love being here at Trigonos. The Milford experience is one to treasure. This is my fourth time as a participant, so I know what to expect. It’s great re-connecting with such wonderful writers. A reflective morning of writing is bolstered by breakfast conversations around mind control (well, we are speculative fiction writers). Now I have a precious couple of hours to work on my own writing, before turning my attention to the main focus of being here: the afternoon critiquing sessions. That can be quite intense, but also incredibly professional and supportive. And there’s chocolate too. There’s no substitute for the level of in-depth and insightful comments you receive from a group like this. Ah, here comes the rain again. Well, it is September in Wales. And yes, it’s also quite…

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